Ngulchu Gyalsas Thogmed Zangpo’s The Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva is one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most popular texts, incorporated in the Mind Training text and also able to be explained according to the Lam Rim tradition. Its advice is timeless and its relevance is universal.
This commentary by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, as expounded during Kalacakra teachings at Bodh Gaya, is characterised by its clarity, practicality and profundity Each stanza of the root text is elucidated precisely and in accessible language.
In addition, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives introductory talks at the start of each day of teaching in which he touches on every aspect of our daily lives. Studying this text leads us to feel that His Holiness is speaking directly to each one of us, and it is universal in its application.
‘When applied and practised with sincerity, this teaching will develop an individual’s warm-hearted compassion. Thus, the contents of this book will be beneficial to Buddhist scholars and general readers alike.
Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, composed by Ngulchu Gyalsas Thogmed Zangpo, is included in the Mind Training text and may also be explained in the context of the Lam Rim tradition, his one of the most popular texts in the development of Tibetan thought and literature and has been expounded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on a number of occasions during Dharma teachings.
This discourse presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the most practical. Employing a style of expression which is simple and easy to follow, His Holiness touches on every aspect of our daily lives. When applied and practised with sincerity, this teaching will develop an individual’s warm-hearted compassion. It enriches the quality of life and gives meaning to this human existence. Studying this text leads us to feel that His Holiness is speaking directly to each one of us, and it is universal in its application.
This English translation has been prepared by Acharya Nyima Tsering, who has put in many months of arduous and painstaking labour, with love, to produce a work of excellent quality. I rejoice in the merit thus gained by him. In addition, many learned scholars have been involved in contributing their skills to the production of this work.
What little merit has been accrued through publishing this book is dedicated to the welfare of all sentient beings.
Although all sentient beings try to achieve happiness and eliminate
suffering by means of physical, verbal and mental activities, out of
inability to conceive the right method and path they mistake suffering for happiness and essenceless things as having essence. Because of such misapprehensions, they find themselves in perpetual misery. With this in mind and in order to lead sentient beings out of samsara and into the blissful state, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama—the incontrovertible emanation of Avalokiteshvara (Lord of Compassion)—with deep love and compassion for all the migratory beings of this degenerate time, gave this oral teaching on Ngulchu Gyalsas Thogmed Zangpo’s Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, at Bodh Gaya in the year 1974.
The Tibetan text was carefully transcribed by Research Officer Mr Tashi Tsering in the first instance and later by Assistant Editor Mr Wangdu Tsering. It was skilkily and thoroughly examined and edited by the eminent scholars Ven. Doboom Rinpoche, Ven. Dagyab Rinpoche, Ven. T.C. Tara and Ven. Lati Rinpoche. My heartfelt thanks go to them all for their painstaking efforts, which provided the basis for my subsequent translation of the work into English. I am also extremely grateful to our Director, Mr Gyatsho Tshering, for his altruistic intention in supporting this translation project and his consistent encouragement during its process. I am indebted to Vyvyan Cayley and Mike Gilmore for editing the translated work and to Professor Jay Garfield and Dr Paul Nietupski, both of whom offered valuable suggestions for improvements to the translation. For the sake of readability in the English language, and to transform a spoken discourse into its written form, the text has been edited and condensed without altering the meaning in any way.
Special thanks go to my spiritual master Ven. Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, who at my request kindly spared so much of his precious time to edit the translation in fine detail. Gratitude is also due to all my teachers, Ven. Professor Yeshi Thapkey, Ven. Thupten Tsering and others, for giving me valuable teachings and affectionate guidance. Without the help of these great teachers I would have been unable to bring out this work. My thanks also go to Ven. Khamtrul Rinpoche, Geshe Drubthob, Ven. Gen Lobsang Gyatso, Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche and Gen Lamrimpa for their discussions with me on the profundities of Buddhist philosophy.
Last but not least, I extend my appreciation to my family members for their unstinting co-operation and support.
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